Introduction: Thinkific – The Online Course Platform That Can
Thinkific is a top-shelf online course platform that offers one of the simplest solutions to creating and selling your courses. Co-founded by brothers Greg and Matt Smith in response to their observations about the power of online learning to succeed in the LSAT, Thinkific is a premium name in learning management systems (LMS) today. From creating your online course to marketing it to the wide global community of e-learners, Thinkific is powered by features and a Thinkific free plan to get you going. In this Thinkific review, let’s consider the pros and cons of this platform – Thinkific pricing, features, content quality, and support.
Ease of Use:
I concur with the many reviews of Thinkific that this is an easy-to-use platform to upload and manage content for online learning. Course creators are sure to benefit from Thinkific’s simple and highly navigable interface. Building your online course requires little to no coding experience. Therefore, the task of putting up and selling your courses isn’t as painstaking as it seems with Thinkific. The platform allows the creator to arrange content through its drag and drop feature.
Also, if you’ve prepared material for an entire course, uploading and organising the complete course can be finished in a matter of hours. Its sales and marketing feature comes with automation to simplify the whole course creation process. You can get a snapshot of your school through the Admin Dashboard, which provides you with the relevant reports and analytics to evaluate the progress of your students and sales of your school.
I agree with some user reviews of Thinkific; one disadvantage is that you can’t tweak with settings in multiple courses through a single page if you compare Thinkific vs Teachable. You would have to use every course’s backend to do that in Thinkific.
In this Thinkific review, great importance is given to the course creation process. A great online course platform has to be user-friendly and responsive to your needs. Thinkific has a native Site Builder that allows you to construct pages that reflect your branding and imaging requirements. You can build a home page, landing pages for each of your courses, bundles, default pages, as well as custom pages.
Know what features each plan comes with and find out how much they cost in the Teachable pricing section.
The catch is that you don’t get plenty of creative control with the Thinkific site builder. You can modify certain elements in your website, such as fonts or colours, but CSS installations aren’t possible. In my reviews of Thinkific, I think that for those who seek more personalisation for their site, this is quite a letdown. Moreover, there aren’t as many themes as one would hope or like, yet, their official website says that more themes can be expected in the immediate future. Overall, while lacking in extra features to reflect your personalised brand, Thinkific has the essential elements to build and run your online course successfully, and at a reasonable Thinkific pricing structure.
All videos uploaded via Thinkific are hosted with Wistia. Every Thinkific plan comes with unlimited video hosting, allowing you to upload as many videos as you want. However, a 2GB file size limit for every video is set. When you upload a video, it goes through the Smart Encoding settings via Wistia. This means that all uploads are adjusted for the smoothest playback possible. Therefore, file sizes and resolution may change depending on the playback environment.
Find out how much each plan costs below in our Thinkific pricing review.
Thinkific has a clean, modern interface that is easy on the eyes. It doesn’t feel cluttered at all. Its course player has been significantly revamped from its earlier dated design to incorporate a more modern look with easy transitions. One thing that I love to point out in this Thinkific review is that the course player has a full-screen option. You can hide the sidebar so that you can view the content on a wider screen. This creates a better visual environment and therefore, enhanced learning process for your students.
Reviews of Thinkific should include an assessment of its engagement tools. Remember that online learning lacks the social aspect of traditional, face-to-face learning. Therefore, platforms must enable great interaction. In this Thinkific review, it must be said that the platform’s built-in features were designed with high student engagement in mind. It comes with tools that are glaringly absent in its top competitors. Given the Thinkific pricing options, its student engagement tools are impressive.
Thinkific fosters student-teacher and student-student interaction through its administrative tools and communities feature. There are quizzes, discussion boards, tests, and Zoom integration to make this possible. It also allows Thinkific integrations via Zapier.
One very attractive recent feature of Thinkific is “Communities” – available for now only on their Pro Plan. This lets you build your very own online community so you could forego using other social media platforms such as Facebook to create groups you really do not own. With the “Communities” functionality, you can add learners and other users to this community.
To make online learning more personal, Thinkific allows you to send personalised emails to students, share grades, certificates, or report cards to give them much-needed feedback and encouragement.
Find out more about each plan in our Thinkific pricing review below.
Currently, there is no Thinkific app developed yet, unlike Teachable or Udemy. However, each Thinkific site is mobile-responsive so that they’re accessible on every mobile device. If you’re an instructor, you can also access records and reports on your mobile device through the mobile-responsive Admin Dashboard.
Range of courses:
Unlike Udemy and other learning platforms, Thinkific is more directed at course creators/instructors than learners. Also, the platform doesn’t provide a marketplace where users can search for online courses and buy them in one venue. Therefore, their website doesn’t offer a curated list of course categories you can buy or enrol in.
However, for our reviews of Thinkific, there is a wide variety of courses you can offer to eager learners through Thinkific. According to their website, it is home to more than 50,000 course creators and more than 75 million courses taken.
Users can get a hold of training content plus membership in an exclusive learning community through a membership site. You need to pay a recurring fee since its login-protected. Thinkific-powered membership sites range from personal coaching, hobbies, life coaching, knitting, yoga, science teaching, and others.
A Thinkific subscription also gives you access to free and paid training courses on how to build your online course, improve your sales funnel, and achieve better learning outcomes.
As stated earlier in this Thinkific review, the platform doesn’t feature a marketplace with best-selling courses announced on its website. However, many course creators choose Thinkific to host their courses. You can find some Thinkific examples here.
Among the widely-featured Thinkific course examples are GuitarZero2Hero (an online course for playing the guitar), Dunbar Academy (for dog training and behaviour), Olive Knits (for knitting), and others.
Like many other online course platforms, Thinkific allows you to create completion certificates. What sets Thinkific apart is that it integrates with well-known certificate creator Thinkific. However, it’s free of charge only when you subscribe to either the Pro or Business Plan.
Moreover, it has to be clarified in this Thinkific review that educational institutions may not formally recognise certificates obtained through the platform.
For our reviews of Thinkific, it's important to consider that the instructor or course creator has complete control over the course content. Therefore, content quality is highly variable. Thinkific doesn’t impose content standards and gives only recommendations on video quality as guidance for course creators.
Support and Resources:
User reviews of Thinkific and my own assessment find Thinkific support to be substantial and helpful. There are several resources you can rely on when you’re in a bind about course creation or any other concern. Their resource page comes with product demos you can access for free. There’s also a great blog that features tutorials on how to build your online course.
All in all, the Thinkific knowledge base and Help Center are excellent sources of information. If you want firsthand knowledge from actual users, there’s a vibrant user community you can ask through forums. However, if you find that you need a more official and detailed response to an enquiry, Thinkific has ticket support. Better yet, they offer phone support – which is a rare offering in the industry.
One important consideration in our reviews of Thinkific is the Thinkific pricing options. Thinkific’s paid plans come in three tiers: Basic, Pro, and Premier.
The best part about Thinkific pricing is its free plan. The Thinkific free plan is one of the best free options for selling online courses in the market today. A Thinkific free plan gets you the platform’s core features but allows the creation of three courses max.
What’s great about the Thinkific free plan is that it has no transaction fees, but you get standard features you need to get your course up and running.
Refund policy/money-back guarantee:
To evaluate Thinkific pricing, its refund policy needs to be studied. Strictly speaking, Thinkific’s refund policy is packaged as a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not pleased with the product for whatever reason, you get a full refund.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
For this Thinkific review, we've considered Thinkific pricing, features, ease of use, and support. Thinkific works best for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want a hassle-free way of selling their online course. The Thinkific free plan is one of the best free plans out there that you can take advantage of. To wrap up our reviews of Thinkific, remember that if you want more customisation options and advanced features, you need to subscribe to the somewhat pricier Thinkific plans.
If you want an awesome visual experience and better options for customisation, then Thinkific will fall short of your standards. Also, beyond the Thinkific free plan, Thinkific pricing is relatively more expensive than other Thinkfic alternatives like Teachable or LearnWorlds.
For Thinkific alternatives, Teachable and LearnWorlds are go-to platforms. Teachable is best for ease of use and less costly than Thinkific pricing, while LearnWorlds works for more advanced users.
To conclude this Thinkific review, this online course platform checks all the essential boxes that make selling your online courses a breeze. It has strong ease of use and robust features that create a great-looking online course.
Don’t forget to apply the risk-free 14-day Thinkific trial to take the platform out for a test drive. You could also subscribe to the Thinkific free plan if you're sold!
Is there a Thinkific free plan?
A Thinkific free plan is available, as well as paid hosting services that come with more features and functionality.
What video settings are recommended by Thinkific?
Per Wistia recommendations, export settings for video on Thinkific include an .mp4 file extension, 640px – 3840px wide resolution and 1080 p for web viewing. The recommended bit rate is 5,000 – 8,000 kbps with 15-60 frames/second framerate. A 16:9 aspect ratio is also recommended.
That's all for now:
Thank you for reading our Thinkific review! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our ever-growing blog of review and comparison articles of education platforms, website builders, eCommerce platforms, and more!
Not only the best tea/coffee maker on the team Sophie keeps the many marketing projects flowing ensuring completion on time. Skilled across multiple marketing skill areas Sophie is our all rounder and a great asset to the team. Sophie is a website building trainer and tech writer who takes pride in helping small businesses and startups build their websites and launch their eCommerce platforms. Sophie is also the practical joker of the team and always wears a smile on her face. In her spare time she likes to spend her time with family. She loves going on holidays and spending time with friends.